Mike Conley is reportedly headed to the Utah Jazz after the team came to terms on a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies (that doesn’t include Derrick Favors).
What many consider the biggest offseason in Utah Jazz history officially tipped off in a big, bad way on Wednesday, just one day before the 2019 NBA Draft.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, with additional reporting by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Jazz have reached agreement with the Memphis Grizzlies on a trade that will bring Mike Conley to the 801.
The deal is expected to be completed on July 6 and the Jazz will utilize some of their cap space to help absorb Conley’s $32.5 million salary for next season. Utah had aggressively pursued a deal for Conley since last year’s trade deadline.
Once it becomes official, the trade should propel the Jazz to the upper crust of the Western Conference. And, with the Golden State Warriors mending next season, the Houston Rockets seemingly in turmoil and the defending champion Toronto Raptors possibly losing Kawhi Leonard, 2019-20 gets very interesting for Utah.
On paper, the Conley-Donovan Mitchell backcourt will be one of the most formidable in the Association. Taking it another step, Conley’s ability to handle and knock down shots should relieve some of the offensive pressure on Mitchell and make him a better, more efficient player.
Conley averaged a career-high 21.1 points per game for the Grizz last season. Even so, the 31-year-old could also benefit from his new situation and see a bump in spite of his age.
Quin Snyder’s offense generates more open looks than just about any other in the league. That bodes well for Conley; if we toss out a 12-game, injury-plagued 2017-18 season, Conley has connected on over 43 percent of his wide open triples over his last two full seasons.
If one were to have reservations about the deal, they would have to be about Conley’s age, salary and injury history. The great thing, though, is that should any of those things come into play, the Jazz will be rid of Conley’s deal in two years. So, while the move isn’t a no-risk situation, I would argue that it’s definitely a low (or measured) risk one.
The icing on the cake is that Utah was able to come to terms without including Derrick Favors in the deal.
On the downside, the team loses a valuable energy player and locker room piece in Jae Crowder, who played a large role in the team’s success over the past two years. Also, the deal means the end of the Ricky Rubio experiment.
Although Rubio had his ups and downs, his heart on and off the floor were big for the team’s chemistry, as well as the local community in Salt Lake City. Regardless of what you think of him as a player, he will be missed in Utah.
Stay tuned to The J-Notes throughout the week for more on the Mike Conley deal and the Utah Jazz’s continued offseason plan.